For 28 years the BlueHouses has been immersed in the heart of the Silverstream Estate. Each year continues to be a year of learning of the needs of the people of the community and how to best support and love them. Over the past few years God has highlighted a number of things to us. One is the depth and breadth of issues facing our young people and that of their parents also. We are witnessing a lot of generational dysfunction and this is where it has become clear we need to work more closely with the whole family and not just the young person.

There is a recognition from the staff that it requires a certain skill level to deal with the complexity of the issues. As a result of all this we have now the amazing Sarahanne in the role of “Counsellor and Family Support Worker”, a very bespoke and in fact pioneering role. Underpinning the unique nature of this role were conversations with both parents and young people who recognised that they both needed and would benefit from counselling but would only do this in a place that they would feel safe and someone they would feel comfortable with.

Sarahanne’s counselling experience includes working with children, young people and adults covering many issues such as stress and anxiety, abuse, depression, trauma, bereavement, unresolved emotional issues and addiction. This experience has already proved vital over the first few months in the role.

From joining the BlueHouses crew Sarahanne has already made incredible connections with many of the women in the community. No better way of doing this is by having some exercise followed by delicious food and plenty of chat! The heart behind this idea was simply to build and form relationships with the mums, grannies etc with the hope of connection and ultimately bridging the gap between youth outreach and adult outreach. 

For 5 weeks in the summer a diverse group of ladies came along ranging from 19 years of age to 50 years old, a mix of parents of BlueHouses young people or former BlueHouses young people from years ago! We had plenty of laughs as we attempted Boxercise and some Core workouts! Over refreshments women shared, opened up and this time together each week became so precious. It was also great to celebrate this venture with a pamper night! The lights were dimmed, spa music played in the background, shloer was bubbling away in their wine glasses and the ladies got to relax, unwind and experience a lovely facial. 

On reflection, this venture into the unknown proved to us the need for a safe space for the women in the community to belong, a space that is for them away from the stresses at home. Some were hesitant, some unsure they would ‘fit in’ and they openly shared around the table these exact fears and how, for each of them, they were so glad they took that step to come along. For some it was about engaging with people they knew of but didn’t know, for others, it was a time to breathe and get some headspace, for others it was a space to grow in confidence and feel accepted. 

It was clear from the feedback that groups like this were an absolute must…

“I can’t articulate how much it has meant to me at a really challenging time, thank you so much”

“I absolutely loved every minute and I hope we can continue it”

Fitness is happening every Thursday evening, Powerwalks Tuesday morning and Mums and Tots on Friday. Ownership, belonging and connection.